Want To Reduce No Shows? Not so Easy, although it could be easier…

Lisa West December 25th, 2011

Automated patient appointment reminder systems have proven to reduce no-show averages. However, before investing in appointment scheduling software it is beneficial to thoroughly assess the scheduling history of your practice to ensure the software will actually meet its needs. If you analyze the scheduling history of your practice patterns of behavior will invariably emerge. Your front desk staff will be able to provide vital information too; concerning those patients who will consistently show up late or cancel their doctor appointment literally two minutes before the scheduled time.

Know Your Patients
You might also notice that ´busy periods´ seemingly fluctuate but in actual fact, there might well be a ´distinct pattern´: To which an automated back-up system, able to deal with patient appointment calls during those busy periods might well be a worthwhile feature to have. There are many different appointment scheduling software and systems available. Web-based medical appointment scheduling systems can be extremely advanced and offer a multitude of features. Of course, you may not need them all! What is important is to ensure you DO opt for one that actually meets your needs. Therefore, it is in your interest to take a good long look at why and when no-shows are happening and which patients are predictable in behavior. Understanding your patient´s behavior can be literally money in the bank…

Automated Solutions Aside
An automated scheduling system can keep the pressure off the front desk during busy periods as well as outside surgery hours. Many of these systems do have an automated reminder feature, which can go a long way to helping lower no-show averages. Even so, some patients need to be more ´personally´ encouraged to understand, they are costing your practice money: And most importantly, it has a negative affect upon patient care – Theirs included!

When cancelling medical appointments has become routine for your patient it is time to speak to that patient confidentially. Unfortunately, no automated system (to date) is able to teach patients that routine cancelling of medical appointments is bad manners and bad for healthcare. As they say, for some jobs, man is better than machine!

Medical appointment scheduling software today is advanced and extremely reliable: Certainly more reliable than paper and pen even in the hands of the most experienced receptionist.

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